It wasn’t all that way back that St. Louis native Justin Marks was greatest often called simply one other racecar driver. He raced sports activities vehicles and in NASCAR primarily within the decrease tier Xfinity and Truck sequence.
He scored his first (and so far solely) win as a driver in NASCAR within the Xfinity sequence at the Mid-Ohio Sports activities Automobile course in 2016. The win got here for group proprietor Chip Ganassi.
By 2020, Marks had transitioned into a brand new position. He had been half proprietor of a World of Outlaws group in addition to a co-owner of a Okay&N Professional Sequence group however by that yr had offered each his stakes in these ventures. He determined he needed to go all in on NASCAR.
In August of 2020, Marks partnered with Ty Norris, a former NASCAR group government to type a brand new group; one exterior the standard mildew. Marks needed to make use of his new group to advertise not simply merchandise, or manufacturers, however social causes and STEM training. The brand new group can be often called Trackhouse Racing, and some months later would make maybe the largest splash in NASCAR in fairly a couple of years.
In January 2021, Marks introduced that Armando Christian Pérez, higher often called Grammy Award profitable artist Pitbull, would grow to be a co-owner of the group. It was an unconventional possession, of a considerably unconventional new group, not less than for NASCAR. Just a few months later, in June, Chip Ganassi Racing, the group the place Marks scored his lone NASCAR win, introduced they’d be leaving the game to concentrate on different types of motorsports. Marks bought the Ganassi belongings which included not solely the gear wanted to area vehicles, however two all-important charters that may assure entry right into a race.
With the gear and charters, Trackhouse expanded from a single automobile group to a two-car group including Ross Chastain as driver to group with Daniel Suarez for 2022.
This season, Trackhouse scored three wins within the Cup sequence; one with Suarez and two with Chastain. The unconventional group, with an unconventional possession mannequin, put each vehicles into NASCAR’s Playoffs competing towards the largest powerhouses in NASCAR like Joe Gibbs Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports.
Regardless of being considerably unconventional, the group nonetheless wants sponsors to outlive. Marks mentioned that hasn’t been a problem, particularly this season.
“Profitable is the very best gross sales device which you can have,” the 41-year-old Marks mentioned smiling. “We had a good quantity of stock on each vehicles open in 2022 once we began the season.
“I imply, clearly you need to have all of your stock offered earlier than the final race of the earlier yr, however we do not essentially all stay in that world, so it’s sort of an ongoing journey.”
That journey has been helped a terrific deal by the wins scored by his drivers and that has introduced new sponsor all through 2022. Marks nonetheless, mentioned that’s not the one factor that has helped.
“Not solely is profitable nice,” he mentioned. “But it surely’s additionally having the ability to inform a narrative in a sport and being a part of the story in a sport the place there is a highlight on you. And what we stand for is teamwork and positivity and alternative that simply resonates with lots of completely different corporations.
“For the place we’re at within the lifetime of our firm we’re actually, actually in a terrific place with all of our companions.”
The teamwork and positivity that pulls sponsors to the group comes from the highest. And the unconventional nature of the group is clear in Marks’ administration fashion. Marks says it comes from expertise.
Along with being half proprietor in two groups, whereas he was rising in NASCAR, his profession as an entrepreneur was rising as properly. In 2012, Marks, together with driver Michael McDowell, opened a karting facility north of NASCAR’s most important hub of Charlotte, North Carolina. All these classes realized are what Marks brings to his group as we speak, although he’s fast to level out that for him the training by no means actually stops.
“I am studying each day,” he mentioned. “I am going by way of one thing proper now within the growth of this firm the place I am actually having to have a look at my administration fashion and as we develop this group and discuss to new individuals about coming in it is clearly a query that I get.
“The place I’ve acquired a bonus is that I’ve lived, as a driver; I lived on the ground of those corporations for a lot of, a few years. I used to be very plugged into many alternative cultures and completely different race groups and the way staff felt like they had been valued and the locations the place they had been comfortable and the locations that they weren’t so comfortable.”
It’s a administration fashion that resonate along with his drivers as properly.
“He thinks rather a lot exterior of the field,” Daniel Suarez mentioned. “He’s not involved or fearful of going proper when everybody else goes left, so I actually like that about him. He’s doing a terrific job with Trackhouse. He’s not simply constructing a powerhouse in Trackhouse, however he’s constructing a model. That’s precisely what he informed me when Trackhouse was solely on a chunk of paper.
“It’s very good to be concerned with individuals which can be placing their ideas and concepts into actuality.”
Marks mentioned that total expertise has been a terrific device for him in growing a administration fashion that has confirmed to this point, to be very profitable. For him it’s primarily about supporting, and provoking, others.
“As a result of” he mentioned, “If these women and men on the ground in these workplaces do not present up at work each day enthusiastic about what they’re doing, feeling valued at work and feeling like they have an actual alternative, then, then you definitely’re lacking a possibility to be at your full potential.
“Basically what my philosophy and my ardour is: simply making an attempt to see as many individuals comfortable as attainable.”
And whereas he does personal the group, and oversees its staff, his motto is:
“I am right here that will help you. What do you want from me as we speak? …and that occurs in enterprise operations conferences. It occurs once I stroll within the paint store or the fab store or one thing. It is simply, what can I do for you, do for you as we speak?”
There are additionally issues akin to household nights the place he invitations the worker’s households to the store and supplies meals, music, and enjoyable. Marks considers that simply as necessary as supporting his staff through the workday.
“It is simply actually each day making an attempt to just be sure you’re invested in your workforce,” Marks mentioned. “That is simply what I attempt to do. However I’m studying. I’m younger, I’m new at this. And I feel it will be fixed by way of the remainder of my profession. “
Suarez was eradicated the primary spherical of the three spherical Playoff; however Chastain continues to be alive and will deliver the group its first NASCAR Cup title in a couple of weeks.
Title or not, it’s nonetheless been triumphant season for the group. And whereas his profession as a group proprietor might need began unconventionally, it’s translating into the sort of typical success that ought to have Marks and Trackhouse Racing in NASCAR for fairly a while.
“As I’ve gotten to know him over the previous decade and really get to know his household on a private foundation,” Ross Chastain mentioned. “-when you meet his mother and pop, and also you hear tales of his childhood – they’re simply happy with what he’s doing as a result of he’s at all times had this love for racing.
“Now, he’s not only a race automobile driver anymore like I do know him to be. He’s taking this concept and been profitable proudly owning the group. I can’t think about what that’s like stepping again from being a race automobile driver and sort of letting go of the wheel, in literal and bodily phrases; hiring guys to drive your vehicles and also you overseeing all of this different stuff now, however he’s knocking it out of the park.”